Category Archives: sailing family

Life afloat in New Zealand: January 2019-July 2019:

I’m not sure what happen to the blogging, or lack there of, while we spent life afloat in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Truth be told, I quickly lost touch with the romanticism of cruising life and lost motivation to write about what we were doing. I still, to this day, am not entirely sure what and how to write about our time in New Zealand. And the longer it gets the harder it is. It’s not that New Zealand lacks in amazing things to write about either, and we did do a lot of amazing things! So here I am, finally sitting down with some room to breath and ponder what to write about our time afloat in New Zealand from October 2018 to October 2021.

We arrived into New Zealand late October 2018 and Christian and Taj made their way down to Wellington (south end of the north island). See this part of the journey here in which I did actually write about.

I’ve somewhat already summarized 2019 in this post here, but I mostly just posted photos without explanations/captions. Now with a little more time to write, I’ll give you more words and many more photos.

January is summer time in New Zealand and school starts at the beginning of February. Nina was set to start “year 12 in College”at Aotea College, which is junior year of high school in American terms. The school was not but a 10 minute bike ride from Mana Marina. Ellamae started in “year 7” at Paremata School, which was 6th grade. Her school was even closer, a short walk away. And Taj was still homeschooled for a short time and enrolled at a local Playcentre, which is a child led play-based co-op type learning center. I had started work on January 14th, 2019 as nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Wellington City. (Please feel free to send me a message if you have questions about nursing in New Zealand.) Christian ended up connecting with a Mountain bike buddy who needed help at his shop @getfixedbicyclecafe with bike mechanics and e-bike conversions. Our lives quickly became back into “standard life” mode, but of course not really, because when do we Lauduccikins ever do “standard”?!

6.5 months (January- July) went by super quick. A half a year into school, work, and life in New Zealand! I accepted a permanent position at my job since we felt confident that Nina wanted to finish high school there and we were enjoying exploring New Zealand on our vacations (called holidays there) from work and school. One really cool thing about Kiwi working and living, they sure do value their vacations. Every 8-10 weeks, the schools take a 2 week “holiday” and then summer is about 6 weeks. My holiday pay accrued quite quickly, so I was able to take time off (at least part of the time) during those holidays and go on family adventures.

Camping, hot springs, and Mountain Biking near Rotorua our first Autumn Easter in NZ.

Soon July would roll around, and it would be time for Ellamae to fly back to spend time with her Papa in Florida. New Zealand schooling was ok with her swapping back to homeschool since we were already registered as US homeschoolers and weren’t NZ residents.

It was our first winter there that we had bought a camper, named Sharkie. We realised that it cost us >$50 /night to sleep in a tent on the cold and wet ground. With a camper we could do what they call “freedom camping” there. With a self contained certification, there are loads of designated sites where you can just pull up in your vehicle and camp for the night. Most places are limited to a certain number of nights, some have very limited spaced, some are in a busy parking lot, and some are remote gems overlooking the surf break. They also have a motor caravan association called NZMCA , which gets you discounts on the ferries across the the North and South Islands, more options for private camping areas, and a few other cool perks as well. Sharkie took us on some amazing adventures and it started with taking Ellamae up to Auckland airport!

The rest of this post will just be more photos and captions. Enjoy!

New sites to take in and new birds to discover!

One week into being liveaboards at Mana Marina we were Bbq’ing and camping with our new fellow liveaboards.

We were so excited to have visitors from outside of New Zealand come and see us! Always fun to be a tour guide.

Christian went up to Paihia to grab our new dinghy , the OCTender that we’ve been dreaming about since we started cruising!

Some more scenes around Mana Marina.

More photos of Taj’s school (Playcentre).

July 2019 came quickly and it was time to take Ellamae to Auckland Airport to fly back to the US to spend the next 6 months with her biological dad. We left at the beginning of the Winter break in our camper for the first real adventure in “Sharkie”. After Ellamae flew off, we continued north all the way up to see our friend’s Russell and Karin of OCtenders and then west and back down!

And that about sums it up for the first half of 2019 in Aotearoa (New Zealand). I’ll admit getting this ready to post took a lot more time than I expected, but I sure did enjoy rummaging through the photos that jogged many amazing memories. It’s a good way to journal and it feels more “real” than Instagram or Facebook, but I do wonder…. do people even read blogs anymore? Please leave a comment on your thoughts on the matter.

Looking from the marina towards the town of Porirua.
Shawnigan nested in her berth (they don’t call them “slips” in NZ) .


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PS.. I’m working on a post more about our time in New Zealand. Its funny how hard it is to come up with creative time to write when I’m working full time as a nurse. Stay tuned!

Afamilyafloat is still afloat

I realize that it has been a very long time since our last post and even more so since a last real update on our life afloat. We are indeed still afloat. Our life afloat, however, has transformed quite a bit since leaving our boat (Shawnigan) in New Zealand for sale, flying back and buying a new one (Malihini) to sail around on. Not only has our location and boat changed, but as our kids have grown older our family dynamic has changed as well.

Let’s first start with the boat change. Our lovely Shawnigan, the Steven’s 40 monohull served us very well and sold in February this year. We sailed many seas, and anchored countless wonderful anchorages with her. As a family of 5 on a 40 foot boat we managed pretty darn well in our opinion. Time aboard during the three years, basically stationary at the dock in New Zealand also served us well, but also lead us to appreciate the space teens desire. It’s different when living at a dock versus out sailing. For some reason the space actually seems smaller, but maybe that’s also because our lives were that of land lubbers, living in a “tiny house” in a damp and cold environment. Don’t get us wrong, we loved many parts about living in New Zealand, but after a few years of damp boat mold building up and time away from family and friends during COVID, it made the most sense to sell Shawnigan in New Zealand and buy a different kind of boat back in the USA .

After months of trying to sort out the best option for our family and find a new boat that suit our needs, we spotted from our online search SV Malihini for sale in Portland, Oregon. Long story short, we made an offer and started the process of surveys and such from New Zealand. We had already listed Shawnigan for sale by owner and then when we realized it might take more time than we had left in New Zealand, Christian sailed her up the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand to leave with a broker in Whangarei/ Marsden Cove. (You can read more about that here) . During all of this, I accepted a nursing position back at UCSF, the kids were accepted at schools, our offer on the new boat was accepted, and we found a place in the San Francisco Bay Area to sail Malihini to and live aboard.

As Christian settled Shawnigan with the broker, we bought Malihini sight unseen. That being said, Christian’s dad did go take a peak at her for us and gave his approval. Christian flew back to the US ahead of us to go retrieve Malihini and sail her down the coast of Oregon and California to her new home in Emeryville. In the meantime, I stayed back in Wellington with the kids, lived in the Campervan “Sharkie” until that sold. Then we stayed in a friend’s Caravan while I finished up work and the kids finished up school.

Looking back, I’m quite amazed that we did all of that. From the end of July, 2021 we made the choice to shift our sailing plans and move back to the States. We shipped our stuff in a container, bought a boat, landed a job, organized school, left a boat to sell with a broker, sold car and camper. Christian did some hardcore sailing of the old boat and new boat, we flew back, saw family and settled on the new boat by mid November, 2021.

And now I introduce to you our lovely new boat, SV Malihini. She’s a Shuttleworth open 35, performance catamaran . For more details, see our updated “our new boat” page. Yes, we switched over to a catamaran, but she’s not your typical one…. We like our boats and most things in our life a bit different, would you expect any less from us?

So here we are, back in the USA, back in San Francisco, but still living afloat. Nina is now 19, working full time and going to a community college part time in Phoenix. Ellamae is now 14, and choose to go to high school out with her Papa in Alabama. When we flew back here she hadn’t seen her Papa for almost 2 full years due to COVID restrictions in New Zealand, so understandably, she wants this time with him and time living on a farm with lots of space: a big change from boat life! So we see her and have an extra cabin for her when she visits on the holidays. Taj is 9, and a little miniature Christian. He’s going to the Berkeley Rose Waldorf school. He enjoys it, but still prefers life outside and can’t wait to go sailing again. Basically, I still have my hands very full with just him and Christian and myself aboard. Christian is working some part time rigging and private boat jobs and getting Malihini dialed to set sail down to Mexico and beyond again. I took a slightly different and quite intense position as a nurse at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in the Pediatric Critical Care Resource team. I’m loving seeing the friendly faces I use to work with before we left in 2015 , meeting so many new ones, and adding a whole new skill set to my nursing repertoire.

When we set off cruising we didn’t really know what we would end up doing. We had somewhat though we would circumnavigate in one go, but as it goes with sailing and life, you go where the wind takes you. We have had so many great adventures so far and our kids have seen so much. Flying back from New Zealand was a hard choice, but we feel it was the right one. It’s our time to work a bit, save money for more sailing, fix the new boat up, spend time close to family and friends, be near(ish) to Nina while she’s in college, support Ellamae as she goes through high school from afar and keep Taj entertained with school and sports. It honestly feels surreal in many ways, and it’s all perfect the way it is.

A few of our farewell wishers.